Gianluca Vialli on 'breath-taking' Gaelic football: 'The pitch looks like an airport to me!'

Gianluca Vialli on 'breath-taking' Gaelic football: 'The pitch looks like an airport to me!'

Italian football legend Gianluca Vialli has been impressed by the "unbelievable" fitness of Gaelic footballers.

The former World Footballer of the Year, who is managing Erin's Isle as part of AIB's The Toughest Rivalry series, says GAA players require an all-round fitness to cover the ground, even with 15 men on the field.

"You need to be unbelievably fit for Gaelic football," said Vialli.

"The pitch is huge, it looks like an airport to me! And there are not that many players to cover it so it really is a physical game with a lot of physical contact and the pace of the game is very fast and furious.

"It really takes your breath away.

"Tactically it is also very different and you need to be an all-rounder.

"You need to be fast but able to run for 60 to 70 minutes so it's like sprinting continuously. You need to able to take the blows, need to be courageous and pass the ball with your feet and fist so it really takes a lot of skill to play this game."

The amateur ethos reminds him of his time as a youth footballer in Italy.

"It is quite rare that you see guys playing a game just for the passion of the game, without being paid, just for the love of it and representing their parish.

"All of this was new to me and reminded me of where I started in football, in the oratory system in Italy, but I was fascinated to find out more about it bit by bit.

"It grew into me very quickly."

More on this topic

Ephie Fitzgerald steps down after Cork lose All-Ireland semi to DublinEphie Fitzgerald steps down after Cork lose All-Ireland semi to Dublin

Aherne's 1-3 helps Dublin see off Cork in All-Ireland semi-finalAherne's 1-3 helps Dublin see off Cork in All-Ireland semi-final

Leonard free helps Galway beat Mayo to All-Ireland final placeLeonard free helps Galway beat Mayo to All-Ireland final place

'We gave supporters something to shout about': Cahill hails Tipp's lightning start'We gave supporters something to shout about': Cahill hails Tipp's lightning start

More in this Section

'We gave supporters something to shout about': Cahill hails Tipp's lightning start'We gave supporters something to shout about': Cahill hails Tipp's lightning start

Dominant Liverpool ease to win over ArsenalDominant Liverpool ease to win over Arsenal

Virgil van Dijk’s 50-game dribbling record ended during win against ArsenalVirgil van Dijk’s 50-game dribbling record ended during win against Arsenal

Messi missing again as Barca look for first winMessi missing again as Barca look for first win


Lifestyle

In August 1969, headlines were dominated by Northern Ireland and the beginnings of what was to become known as “the Troubles”.August 26, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

Hundreds of grey seals, the ‘people of the sea’, haul out on Great Blasket’s Trá Bán.Blasket Island seals have cousins in Namibia

More From The Irish Examiner